Bird’s Eye View from the Floor at the AIA Conference 2019

06/06/2019 | By Christoph Trappe

Skylights and aerial photography—both show you a unique view of your building. One helps building owners and facility managers track building damage from above while the other opens up the inside of a building with natural daylighting (also from above).

I walk the floor at the AIA Architectural Conference in Las Vegas and chat with Velux and Nearmap about their products.

How to Catch Building Damage with Aerial Photography

Zach Barney demonstrates aerial photography from Nearmap:

Rather read the transcript?

[Start transcript]

My name is Zach Barney. I’m senior director of sales at Nearmap. We are an aerial imagery company based out of Sydney, Australia. Our US headquarters is in Salt Lake City.

Nearmap demonstration of how to use their measurement tool of damage to get a better bidWhat I’m looking at here is some aerial imagery in Las Vegas, just to the west of the new Raiders’ stadium. (Photo: Pulled from the demonstration above by Zach Barney, Nearmap)

A lot of our customers, they use aerial imagery from Nearmap to track change over time. So, we’re looking at some roof damage on a commercial building.

Nearmap captures a lot of the larger metros in the country several times per year. You can track that change over time and see if the condition of a roof or a building is deteriorating—measure it so you can get an accurate bid.

I’m just going to show you really quickly how we measure.

I’m using our area measurement tool. If I just want to measure this spot out, it’s literally a couple clicks of a button.

And that tells me that’s a 1300-square-foot job that I’m going to need to reach out to some contractors and get a bid on—rather than sending somebody on site, which takes a lot of time out of their day and takes them away from other aspects of their job.

[On topic: Deploy Drones for Envelope Inspections]

[End transcript]

Reasons to Have a Skylight in Your Building

Christoph Trappe spoke with Mark Brink from Velux about their skylight products. During this conversation, they chat about the multi-level benefits for including or retrofitting a skylight in your facility. Listen to their conversation here:

Or read the transcript below:

[Start transcript]

Christoph Trappe: Hello, everyone. It’s Christoph Trappe, chief content officer at Buildings.com and interiorsandsources.com. Still here in Las Vegas at the AIA Architectural Conference.

The topic of this quick episode here will be skylights.

So, interestingly, we already did a show on acoustics and I said earlier, acoustics—if they’re terrible, you can tell. If the acoustics are great, you can’t tell at all.

So, I’m actually standing here with Mark Brink, and he’s here with VELUX.

Mark, thanks for joining us.

Mark Brink: Thanks. You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure.

Christoph: What we’re talking about here, Velux has a product, a skylight product. We’ll talk about how you decide how to pick a skylight, why would you want it.

So, we’re in this big exhibit hall. Nothing out of the ordinary. You can picture it, the Las Vegas Convention Center. And there’s no skylight.

So, I’m saying to Mark, “I didn’t notice that there were no skylights here. But I’m sure if there were skylights, I would go, ‘Wow’.”

Mark: Yes. People appreciate natural light. If there were skylights here, we could daylight the space and eliminate a lot of artificial light fixtures, which minimizes energy costs and lowers maintenance of operations costs as well.

Christoph: At what point in the process do we have to talk about whether or not to use skylights?

Mark: Generally, it’s on the architectural side. It’s all about seeing architects early on and talking about daylighting, the benefits of daylighting, which include health benefits, physiological—you mentioned even metabolism benefits. Not to mention the fact that we like natural light.

[Related: Biophilia Study: Keys to Employee Health and Wellness]

Christoph: And do you save money?

Mark: Yes, absolutely. If you properly daylight, if you commission your lighting or control your artificial lighting and keep the fixtures off, that’s money savings.

Christoph: And then when we talk about the look of skylights, what kind of advice can you give to people there?

Mark: Well, it’s kind of funny. Because I tell architects and designers, I’m one of the few people that look up at skylights. But in this day-in-age, there’s a wide range of different geometries you can do, different glazing options that include not only glass, but glass with photovoltaics and even polycarbonates.

Christoph: And I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed the actual design when I look at a skylight. But I do definitely notice, ‘Look at the light.’

Mark: Right. Yep. No, we feel good about natural light. Definitely feel good about natural light. And that’s what skylights bring into your space.

Christoph: So, is this only for new construction? Or what can people do if they have an existing building?

Mark: You can retrofit, you can cut in skylights. Sometimes you might have areas that are really tough to get to and you can look at sun tunnels, reflective duct work that actually drops the daylight into a space.

Christoph: How would it ever come up in a retrofit? Why would it come up for people that they might want to do it?

Mark: If they have an existing skylight and it’s 30 years old, they might have seal issues, they might have glass issues. There are different reasons, but it’s out there. Skylights have been around for 100 years in America. Retrofit is out there as well.

Christoph: But if you don’t have a current skylight, can you retrofit with a skylight going forward?

[More from VELUX at IRE: Is It Time to Replace Your Skylight?]

Mark: Yes. You want to be careful. You want to probably get structural involved. But yes. It’s easy to do.

Christoph: And how would that scenario come up? So, if I have a building owner, how do I get that building owner to even think—I mean I didn’t even think about that until I walked by here and saw your skylights. I never said, ‘Oh. There’s no skylights here.’ Well, who has skylights in an exhibit hall?

Mark: Some exhibit halls do. But I think it might come from a consultant, an energy consultant, an aware owner that understands what daylighting’s benefits are.

Christoph: So, tenants and others in the building might enjoy it and like it, once we crunch the numbers, we might find that we can save money.

Mark: Yes. And I’ll tell you, there’s studies that prove that it increases retail value when you add daylighting.

Christoph: Because it looks nicer, too? Or no?

Mark: And it feels better.

Christoph: Looks nicer, feels better. What else can we say?

Mark, thanks for joining us. Thanks everyone for listening to another episode of our podcast.

If you’re listening on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc., check us out on Buildings.com and interiorsandsources.com.

Christoph Trappe, still from the AIA Conference in Las Vegas.

[End transcript]

More AIA Conference coverage:

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